Day: August 28, 2019

Webinar: Geospatial Patterns of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in US Rivers and Streams

Wed, Sep 18, 2019 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT
Register here.

The overuse of antimicrobials poses a serious threat to public health by promoting the development of antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals, and the environment. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)* , two million individuals are infected with antimicrobial resistant bacteria each year in the U.S., resulting in 23,000 deaths; however, little is known regarding the role the environment plays in the transmission of these microorganisms. Environmental exposure risks are likely to be greater in water bodies receiving discharge from human sewage systems and animal feed operations than in relatively pristine aquatic environments.

This webinar will present how a stratified, probabilistic survey—National Rivers and Streams Assessment (NRSA)— was used to determine the national geospatial patterns of several antimicrobial resistance genes present in U.S. waters. NRSA is part of the National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS), which are collaborative programs between EPA, states, and tribes designed to assess the quality of the nation’s coastal waters, lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, and wetlands using a statistical survey design.

*CDC Report: Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013

About the Presenter: Scott Keely, Ph.D. (Contact:keely.scott@epa.gov)
Dr. Scott Keely is a microbiologist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development. His primary research involves bioinformatic analysis of next-generation nucleic acid sequences from environmental and gut microbiomes and human microbial pathogens, such as GiardiaCryptosporidium, and respiratory/enteric viruses. In addition to NARS, Scott’s research also includes the development of novel indicators for treatment efficacy in water reuse. Scott received his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine.

As the climate crisis intensifies, lawsuits aimed at slowing greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise

Read the full story from Ensia.

Can you sue to save the world? As the global climate crisis intensifies, people are increasingly taking governments and corporations to court in a bid to slow runaway greenhouse gas emissions.

Most climate lawsuits have been filed in the United States, but recent years have brought an increase in litigation in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new report published by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

Chemical Exposure Web Tool Defines Risks Faced by Millions of California Women

Read the full story from the University of California San Francisco.

A new web tool spells out for the first time the exposures that more than 6.5 million working women in California face that could increase their risk for breast cancer, including industrial solvents, antimicrobials and phthalates.

New NRDC tool calculates cost of electricity by resource & region

Read the full story from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has launched a new tool that can help utilities, institutions, state, and local policymakers, and the public get better answers about the changing economics of today’s power sector.

New Jersey Governor Tightens Food Waste Recycling Legislation

Read the full story in Waste360.

The governor returned a bill to legislators with recommendations to remove exemptions allowing food waste to be sent for final disposal to incinerators and landfills.

Industry Update: USDA Aims to Release Hemp Rules by August

Read the full story in the National Law Review.

The USDA announced this week via a notice published in the Federal Register that it intends to release its interim final rules for the establishment of a domestic hemp production program by August 2019.  

The case for retreat in the battle against climate change

Read the full story from the University of Delaware.

With sea level rise and extreme weather threatening coastal communities, it’s no longer a question of whether they are going to retreat; it’s where, when and how. In a new paper, researchers advocate for a managed and planned retreat, not a short-term spur of the moment reaction to a massive storm.

PFAS: An Industry in Search of Answers

Read the full story in Waste360.

The Environmental Research & Education Foundation’s Summit on PFAS in Leachate opens discussions on PFAS data gaps.

EPA and Federal Partners Announce Winners of Water Quality “Challenge”

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with four federal partners announced the winners of a technology-accelerating water quality challenge. This year’s winners demonstrated how data from low cost water quality monitoring sensors can be used to inform local-scale nutrient management decisions.

“To address the challenges of today and the future, we need innovative thinkers at the global- and local-level,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science and EPA Science Advisor Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta. “We commend the ‘challenge’ winners for identifying creative ways to use low-cost tools to understand our resources and better inform nutrient management decisions.”

The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge is one of a series of challenges focused on nutrient management conducted as part of multi-year collaboration between the EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).

For this challenge, six teams deployed and collected data from two or more nutrient sensors for at least three months and sought to demonstrate how local communities can use the collected data to inform nutrient management.

The three teams selected for the Challenge’s prize ($50K each) are:  

  • League of Women Voters of Illinois (Jo Daviess County, Ill.), “Direct Data for Farm Nutrient Management” – The team demonstrated how an edge-of-field sensor system could support farmers in reducing nitrogen loss from their fields. The installed sensors provide real-time data to inform management decisions at the farm-scale.
  • South Platte Water Renewal Partners (Englewood, Colo.), “In-Plant Sensors for Nutrient Management” – This facility is using sensor data to optimize wastewater treatment to meet more stringent nitrogen standards and improve watershed health.
  •  University of New Hampshire (Durham, N.H.), “Impact of Dam Removals on Nitrate Retention” – The team deployed low-cost nutrient sensors to assess amount and timing of nitrate loading associated with dams.

Through prize competitions and other innovative mechanisms, EPA, USGS, USDA, NIST, and U.S. IOOS collectively pursue opportunities to facilitate technological breakthroughs, engage stakeholders, and build a community working together to solve nutrient pollution. The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge will be used as a springboard for further innovation to reduce excess nutrients in lakes, rivers, and coastal waters.

More information on EPA’s efforts to address excess nutrients: https://www.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/collaborative-approaches-reducing-excess-nutrients.

A new way to generate solar steam for cleaning water and reducing waste

Read the full story from Argonne National Laboratory.

Strategies for purifying water abound, but they tend to require lots of energy. Scientists at Argonne are exploring materials that can efficiently use sunlight to concentrate heat right at the water’s surface to produce clean steam for capture.

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